Tobacco use in the District of Columbia 2020
Cigarette use: District of Columbia*
Cigarette use rates in Washington DC
- In 2018, 13.8% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 16.1%.1
- In 2019, 5.3% of high school students in the District of Columbia smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 6.0%.2
Other tobacco product use: District of Columbia
Vaping rates in Washington DC
- In 2017, 2.3% of adults in the District of Columbia used e-cigarettes.3
- In 2018, 1.7% of adults in the District of Columbia used smokeless tobacco.3
- In 2019, 13.0% of high school students in the District of Columbia used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 32.7%.2
- In 2019, 5.5% of high school students in the District of Columbia used chewing tobacco, snuff or dip on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 3.8%.2
- In 2019, 6.6% of high school students in the District of Columbia smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 5.7%.2
Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control
How much does Washington DC get from tobacco taxes
- D.C. received $71.7 million (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2020.4
- Of this, the city allocated $1.9 million in city funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2020, 17.8% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.4
- Smoking-related health care costs: $391 million per year.4
- Smoking-related losses in productivity: $280.4 million per year.5
District of Columbia tobacco laws
Washington DC cigarette tax
- D.C is ranked 1st in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $4.50 per pack (enacted October 2018), compared to the national average of $1.82. (Missouri has the lowest tax at $0.17).6-8
- Little Cigars (weighing less than 4lbs/thousand):22.5 cents per little cigar
- All other tobacco products are taxed at 96% of the manufacturer’s list price.6,7
Clean indoor air ordinances
- Smoking is prohibited in all government workplaces, private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, restaurants, bars (allowed in cigar/tobacco bars and allows for an economic hardship waiver), retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.7
- E-cigarettes are included in the city’s definition of smoking.9
- Retailers and wholesalers are required to obtain a license to sell tobacco products, except premium cigars.6
- A license is required to sell e-cigarette products.9
Youth access laws
- In December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21, effective immediately.
- Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to minors are prohibited.6,7
Baseball stadium laws
- Tobacco use is prohibited at organized sporting events, including professional venues.10
Quitting statistics and benefits
Quitting smoking and vaping in Washington DC
- The CDC estimates 58.2% of daily adult smokers in D.C. quit smoking for one or more days in 2018.3
- In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all quit medications.7**
- The D.C. quit line invests $4.68 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.14.7
- D.C. does not have a private insurance mandate provision for quitting tobacco.7
Notes and references
Updated August 2020
* National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.
** The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban).
Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.
1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2018.
2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, 2019.
3. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2020.
4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 21 Years Later FY2020, 2019.
5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States.
6. American Lung Association, State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI).
7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2020.
8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0097.pdf. Accessed.
9. Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review. Accessed.
10. Knock Tobacco Out of the Park. https://tobaccofreebaseball.org/. Accessed.